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Judicial Careers

The Law School prepares students for judicial internships and clerkships and assists them in developing the skills, qualities, and credentials that judges look for when selecting their interns and law clerks.

About Judicial Internships | About the Judicial Clerkship Program

2014-Term Judicial Clerks from The University of Texas School of Law

The Judicial Clerkship Program

UT Law has a unique program that helps second-year and third-year law students apply for judicial clerkships, state and federal, all over the country. Typically, students begin the application process during their second year of law school, for clerkships beginning in August or September after graduation, which last for one or two years.

Why clerk? A judicial clerkship offers law school graduates the unique opportunity to work directly with a judge in a state or federal court. These one-to-two-year positions can be one of most rewarding jobs in a legal career. A clerkship allows graduates a chance to be a part of our judiciary, and ideally develop a mentor in a judge. It is a prestigious position and often serves as a springboard to permanent positions with law firms or the public sector. See article "Scoring a SCOTUS Clerkship: Recent Alum Shares His Story" (Fall 2013 UT LAW Magazine).

Judicial Clerkship Information for UT Law 1Ls
Judicial Clerkship Information for UT Law 2Ls
Judicial Clerkship Information for UT Law 3Ls
Judicial Clerkship Information for UT Law Alumni

The application process is highly competitive, regulated, and complicated. Participation in the Program will make your application the best it can be and maximize your chances of obtaining a clerkship.

Each student in the Judicial Clerkship Program is assigned an advisor who provides one-on-one advice for perfecting their applications and intelligently choosing judges to whom they those applications will be sent. Students are also provided detailed information about application deadlines and procedures, which often differ from court to court and judge to judge. And participating in the Program simply makes applying for clerkships easier. For example, Program Staff manage all of the letters of recommendation, ensuring that each application is accompanied by all of the required recommendation letters.

Program assistance does not stop with application preparation. The Clerkship Advisors communicate regularly with judges about UT Law applicants, and help students prepare for interviews. The Judicial Clerkship Program also advises UT Law alumni who are applying for judicial clerkships. 

Judicial Internships

Judicial internships provide the opportunity for students to gain exposure to the judicial process and the inner workings of a court while still in law school. Interns often work closely with the judge's law clerks and may be asked to research and write memoranda, attend trials and hearings, summarize cases, and help with administrative work. Interns often improve their GPAs because they develop practical insights and a solid, practical understanding of the law. Some internships lead directly to judicial clerkships, as some judges prefer to take their law clerks from their pool of interns. Judicial internships are offered during the spring, fall and summer semesters. Although internships are unpaid, students can receive academic credit for state and federal courts in Austin during the school year, and for federal courts and state appellate courts nationwide during the summer. During the summer of 2013, 92 students, 81 of whom were 1Ls, chose to do judicial internships. Judges begin accepting applications for summer positions December 1, and some judges will also interview and hire during the spring semester. 

The nature of the work will differ depending on the type of court: appellate or trial; state or federal.

In appellate courts, interns reflect on issues raised by the trial record. They perform legal research and may write draft versions of the judge's opinions and orders; read the briefs in a case scheduled for argument and perform research in order to prepare a "bench" memo for the judge; discuss the case with the judge, co-clerks, and law clerks of other judges on the "panel;” and attend oral argument.

In trial courts, interns are typically involved in decision-making at every stage and are exposed to litigation procedures. A trial court intern may have the opportunity to participate in the preparation for pretrial motions, evidentiary hearings, and jury and non-jury trials; attend oral arguments; attend settlement conferences; review and make recommendations on motions; prepare trial memoranda for the judge (including a summary of issues presented in the case); and organize exhibits. Like appellate court law interns, trial court law interns perform legal research and may write draft versions of the judge's opinions and orders.